Mike Gauthier Predicts Great Rainier Climbing Year Despite Lack of Snow

The News Tribune says Rainier Climbing Ranger Mike Gauthier is predicting one of the best years for climbing Rainier.

Rainier’s snowpack since March has doubled to 100 inches although well below what it should be in this record low year.

“Now it’s looking like it could be one of the best years to climb the guided routes.”

Gauthier said it’s too soon to determine if the recent snowfall will be enough to produce good conditions on more technical routes such as Liberty Ridge, where four climbers died last year. Fresh snow could increase avalanche danger.

Rainier climbers now the upper mountain is almost like the middle of July with creavasses opening up.

Rainier had similar conditions in 2003, one of the mountain’s three lightest snow years since 1955. That year fewer climbers attempted the mountain but there was a higher success rate — 53.5 percent and no fatalities.

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